The Urban Autonomous Delivery Hackathon

From November 6 to 8, 2015, the Changing Places 48-hour Hackathon invited mixed student teams to make up their minds about Future Autonomous Deliveries in Urban Environments. 

While in public discourse, the main stream of reflections revolve around future roles of  what today is the passenger car, the very same urban space in which self-driving vehicles will operate also needs to accommodate cargo deliveries. The sub-domains in which participants had been invited to research were as diverse as "Small Packages", "Food&Beverages", "City Services", "Medical Services", "Disaster and Emergency Handling", and finally "Moving People" - the latter being understood as a very special "freight". 

By Sunday noon, the hackers came up with an amazingly wide range of solutions - from dense urban cargo pipe networks for small express deliveries to robots crawling through post-quake debris and bringing water relief to victims awaiting their rescue, from route optimization for trash collection trucks to freight cars on subway trains and to resilient networks of emergency building signage. The solutions presented to the jury on early Sunday afternoon reflected a deep understanding for future challenges awaiting urban communities, and included approaches from all fields of advanced science.